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Episode 1548

Yak Shaving

There was a time when William Shakespeare was just another little seven-year-old in school. Classes in his day were demanding — and all in Latin. A new book argues that this rigorous curriculum actually nurtured the creativity that later flourished...

Thinking Like Shakespeare

In a passage from How to Think Like Shakespeare: Lessons from a Renaissance Education, Scott Newstok, a professor at Rhodes College, offers an apt description of class letting out and students wandering about while focused on their phones. This is...

Episode 1544

Hog on Ice

One secret to writing well is … there is no secret! There’s no substitute for simply sitting down day after day to practice the craft and learn from your mistakes. Plus, childhood mixups around word definitions can lead to some funny stories...

Independent as a Hog on Ice

Pam from Denton, Texas, says her mother-in-law always used the expression independent as a hog on ice. A hog that stubbornly gets itself stranded on a sheet of ice is in an extremely awkward position. A passage in the book Jack Shelby: A Story of...

Sasha and Zamani, and Three Deaths

In his book African Religions and Philosophy, Kenyan-born philosopher John Samuel Mbiti describes the East and Central African concepts of sasha, those ancestors who remain alive in human memory, and zamani, the vast ocean of time into which...

Episode 1515

Colonial English

The anatomy of effective prose, and the poetry of anatomy. Ever wonder what it’d be like to audit a class taught by a famous writer? A graduate student’s essay offers a taste of a semester studying with author Annie Dillard. Also, what...